Islam Pushes, Europe Reacts
Europeans have been tolerant of the inroads that Islam has made into their society over a period of decades. But things are changing. That tolerance has produced such strains on the Continent that it is now creating a political backlash.
Perhaps the first public display of European reaction to its creeping Islamization was the publishing by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten of the Muhammad cartoons on Sept. 30, 2005. Just one year later, Pope Benedict xvi threw down the gauntlet to Islam during a provocative speech at the University of Regensburg.
Since then, Europe has gone on the offensive against the Islamic push from the south. Calls from responsible politicians across the board to stem the flood of immigrants into the Continent are getting louder. The contest between European Christianity and Islam is heating up.
A Religious Powder Keg
Two politically overt actions taken within a week of each other in March illustrate the point.
On March 22, Pope Benedict baptized, confirmed and gave the Eucharist to Magdi Allam, a well-known Egyptian-born Muslim resident in Italy. Allam is a senior editor for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in addition to being a high-profile author. His conversion ceremony seemed calculated for maximum exposure: It took place right at St. Peter’s Basilica on the eve of Easter Sunday, and was heavily covered by the Vatican and other news outlets.
Just five days later, Dutchman Geert Wilders released his controversial and long-anticipated film Fitna. The 15-minute film “consists of some of the most bellicose verses of the Koran, followed by actions in accord with those verses carried out by Islamists in recent years. The obvious implication is that Islamists are simply acting in accord with their scriptures,” the Jerusalem Post reported (April 3). Fresh Catholic convert Magdi Allam said Wilders’ main point was that “the root of evil is inherent” in Islam. That phrase, “the root of evil,” is so close to a quote employed by Pope Benedict in his Regensburg speech that the two seem to follow the same script.
None of this is surprising. The tolerance of the creeping Islamization of Europe shown by the socialist, center-left governments fashionable during the latter 1990s and on through the middle of the current decade was bound to place strains on European society to the point of explosion. The explosions occurred in Paris and other French cities in the rioting of Islamist thugs in 2005 and 2007. Some wanted to excuse the outbreaks of violence by blaming the unemployment and social problems rife in many of France’s poorer suburban areas. The question is, why have those problems arisen? Political scientist Ernst Hillebrand points directly to the soft policies of European governments on immigration. Singling out the left wing of European politics as the culprit, he observed, “Multiculturalism—the left’s answer to the significant rise in European immigration in recent decades—has failed. It has led to fragmented societies and ghettos of marginalized minorities in which the mutual frustrations of indigenous populations and immigrants have increased. This applies above all to immigrants from Islamic countries, among whom the second and third generations often have much more hostile attitudes to Western society than their elders” (Prospect, March 2008; emphasis mine throughout).
Why are unemployment and social problems endemic to France’s poorer suburbs? Simply because immigrants of a culture totally incompatible with that of France have been allowed to enter and settle without acculturating into French society. This has produced a cultural powder keg within not only France, but also many other west European countries.
Who has taken the lead in trying to address this growing problem? None other than the Vatican.
“Revive Your Roots”
For 30 years, Rome has been sounding a clarion call to Europe to return to its cultural and spiritual roots (see article, page 1). It started with Pope John Paul ii in 1981, who sought to beat back the onslaught of secularism, liberalism and pan-Islamism with this battle cry: “It can be said that the European identity is not understandable without Christianity and that it is precisely in Christianity that are found those common roots by which the Continent has seen its civilization mature ….” The pope then cried out to all Europe, “Find yourself again. Be yourself. Discover your origins, revive your roots. Return to those authentic values which made your history a glorious one and your presence so beneficent in the other continents.”
Pope Benedict xvi is repeating that call. In July 2005, he prayed for God “to stop the murderous hand of those who, driven by fanaticism and hatred,” commit acts of terrorism. He then returned to the same theme introduced by his predecessor: the need for Europeans to return to their Christian roots. He quoted John Paul ii’s “revive your roots” speech.
The pope’s speech in Regensburg, Germany, came 14 months later. In that speech, the world’s attention was caught by a quote Benedict used from a dialogue between Byzantine Emperor Manuel ii Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam: “Show me just what Mohammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”
Since then, Pope Benedict has increasingly emphasized the need for adherents to the Church of Rome to undertake a new evangelism for their faith.
It is a message that seems to be steadily bearing fruit. To quote Ernst Hillebrand again, “There are signs that in Western [European] societies, a creeping change of values is taking place …. In some countries the zeitgeist appears to have become conservative once again: Opinion polls indicate a slow shift in the direction of traditional values” (op. cit.).
The values to which Hillebrand refers are those that lie at Europe’s roots. They are the values that, as John Paul ii said, made Europeans’ history “a glorious one.” The history of Europe is the history of the Holy Roman Empire. It was the spiritual leadership of Rome combined with the military force and might of Germany that gave Europe the history which John Paul ii and Pope Benedict xvi refer to as “glorious.” It is that very history that is even now reviving within Europe, leading to a gradual return to European conservatism, with the increasing reassertion of the right wing in European politics.
A swing to the right across the European continent will not bode well for Islam.
Building to a Confrontation
There can be no doubt that the success of John Paul ii’s appeal to Europe to return to its Holy Roman roots galvanized Eastern Europe’s rebellion against Soviet communism. John Paul’s great success was the merging of the eastern leg of old imperial Europe with its western counterpart.
Benedict’s challenge is now to deal with the enemy within, the onslaught of Islam on European society.
What this pope started with that Regensburg speech is building to a confrontation between Rome and pan-Islam that will end in the heat of a whirlwind battle—and one thing’s for sure, Rome will not be the loser!
The papal call for Europe to return to its roots is engaging Europe’s ethnic citizenry. It is progressively engaging its politicians. With each threat against Europe spouted by an Islamic extremist, the battle heats up. Europe is clearly feeling the push from its south and is now reacting increasingly against it.
As Daniel Pipes observed, “Indeed, [Magdi] Allam and [Geert] Wilders may represent the vanguard of a Christian/liberal reassertion of European values. It is too soon to predict, but these staunch individuals could provide a crucial boost for those intent on maintaining the Continent’s historic identity” (Jerusalem Post, op. cit.).
That’s a statement that would surely warm Pope Benedict’s heart!
Continue to watch for a progressive swing to the right within both the electorate and key political parties in Europe. Watch for an increasingly imperialist Europe to work at fielding a stronger military presence, in particular under nato’s umbrella, within several theaters. Watch for the European Union to more willingly accept America’s request to take on a greater share of the burden of security within Eurasia and, in particular, the Middle East.
As you watch, know that there is coming a mighty clash between the German-dominated European Union and the increasingly Iranian-led Islamic powers. The evidence of the impending fulfillment of Daniel 11:40-41—the clash of the “king of the north” and the “king of the south”—is there for all to see. Not only is that explosion, which today’s events are preparing the way for, foretold, but so too is its outcome.
Make no mistake, Islam will soon be routed from Europe, by force!